3 questions for social media platforms

We are all guilty of occasionally suffering from shiny new object syndrome. We see something new and we are inclined to jump off the ship we are on and climb on the bandwagon of the exciting new shiny object. In the world of social media, the shiny new object syndrome is spreading out of control. Don’t catch the virus! Your business does not have to jump on to every new social media network!

Last year, the experts were telling every business owner that their business “HAS TO” be on Meerkat. Then it was Periscope and Blab. A few years ago it was Google+ Pages. This year it has been Snapchat and then just last week, Instagram Stories. You need a spreadsheet just to keep track of all the new shiny objects. Trying to keep up with all of these new social networks and new features is exhausting. If your business invested time and money by jumping on every one of those new networks, you’re probably out of business now. Here is the good news: you don’t have to jump on every new social network. Fight the urge to chase new shiny objects.

It is a great habit to get into to educate yourself on new social networks and features when they launch. You want to know which options you have, and occasionally a new network might be something that makes sense for your business. However, most new social networks and features simply won’t make sense for your business.

To decide if a new shiny object is worth considering, keep these three basic questions in mind:

  1. Who is your target audience?
    First, you have to know who your target audience is. Who are they? All other decisions on which social networks and features to use flow from this. Get specific. Age. Location. Job type. Interests. Income. The mores specific you get, the better you’ll be able to target this audience and the more clear it will become as to which social networks and new features make sense for your business.
  2. Where does your target audience hang out?
    Where do they spend their time online? Which social networks? No matter who your target audience is, the two givens (based off the data) is that they are on Facebook and they are on Twitter. Beyond that, you need to dig into your audience to decide where they hang out.

Example: If your target audience is 40+ upper middle class conservative women interested in home remodeling, then investing time in Snapchat would not likely make sense for your business. For that audience, you’d want to stick to Facebook and Twitter, and invest heavily in Pinterest.

  1. What are your social media goals?
    What do you want to get out of social media? If your main goals are to build your brand and get your company name out there, then you are likely concerned mostly with views and new social networks, and new features may present options for you to stand out and get a lot of views.

Your company might want to consider Snapchat or utilizing Facebook Live. If your main goals are to drive traffic to your website and create trackable sales conversions, you will want to stick to social networks that can provide you comprehensive data and provide multiple advertising and promotion options. Facebook and perhaps Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest may make more sense for your business and networks like Periscope or Snapchat would likely not make sense for your business.

We are all naturally inclined to be drawn to new shiny objects. When a new social network comes out or when a new exciting feature is released, make sure to consider the three things above…

Who is your target audience? Where does your target audience hang out? What are your social media goals?

If you’ve figured out who your target audience is and decided that they do hang out on a particular social network, and you have decided that the network fits well within your social media goals, then by all means consider taking advantage of the network and any new features it releases. If a social network or new feature does not fit within your goals or your target audience does not utilize that network or feature, don’t jump on the bandwagon. Stick with what works for your business.

I will leave you with this: Don’t go “All In” on new social networks and features. Explore them. Test them out. However, stick to what is working well for your business as you dip your toes into new social networks and features. Guru’s will tell you to take a chance and jump all in; however, until you have the data and confidence to know that a social network or feature makes sense for your business, it is not responsible to go “all in.” More often than not, that shiny new object will be a disappointment and cost your business time and money.

Don’t catch shiny new object syndrome; it can be fatal for your business.